Fatal accidents on highways increasing at an alarming rate

Sushant Ranjan
Saturday, 9 February 2019

“Bikers, mostly youngsters, do not wear helmets. Within the city limits, the speed is mostly 40-50 kmph and when they move towards highways, they increase to 80 to 100 kmph. With the increasing speed, the rider loses control over the motorbike." said Sandeep Jadhav

With the ‘Road Safety Week’ having already started from Monday, the city police, Regional Transport Office (RTO) and NGOs are all set to make aware the citizens about helmet use and driving within speed limits, among other issues. According to the RTO, as many as 1,361 mishap deaths took place in Pune last year including 110 on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway. According to the Pune rural police, 1,009 people died in mishaps in rural areas of the district, out of which 415 died on four highways under the rural police.

“Human errors such as not wearing seatbelts, over-speeding, driving on the shoulder of roads and crashes with broken-down vehicles on the roadside cause the most number of accidents. Overspeeding is the main reason. Drivers also found that due to poor road conditions, at high speeds, even though he/she may try to brake and slow down, they may meet with accidents. Most of the accidents are of two-wheelers. The two-wheelers are not authorised to drive on the Pune-Mumbai-Expressway and they should use the old NH 48 highway. The condition of this highway is not good. The condition of other highways is also disappointing, which is one of the main reasons for accident deaths,” said Sandeep Jadhav, Additional SP of Pune Rural Police.

“Bikers, mostly youngsters, do not wear helmets. Within the city limits, the speed is mostly 40-50 kmph and when they move towards highways, they increase to 80 to 100 kmph. With the increasing speed, the rider loses control over the motorbike. Most of the two-wheeler accident deaths reported are helmetless drivers,” said Jadhav. According to the rural police, last year, 2,280 accidents were registered in which 1,009 people died and 1,895 were injured.

Similarly, the Pune-Mumbai Expressway witnessed 358 accidents in 2018, claiming lives of 110 people and seriously injuring 151. As per the report, since 2006, in more than 5,400 accidents, 1,600 people have lost their lives. The death rate has increased from 2017 to 2018.

A study conducted by city-based organisation Parisar on helmet compliance found there was an increase of four per cent in helmet users. In May 2018, 28 per cent of those surveyed were found to be wearing helmets, while in December 2018 that percentage increased to 32 per cent. A similar trend was seen in pillion rider helmet usage, where the first survey indicated 1.1 per cent usage and the second survey showed a 4.1 per cent usage.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways too has issued several communications urging the principal secretaries and the transport commissioner of all states and Union territories to monitor the compulsory wearing of helmets and to take strict action for non-compliance.

Ranjit Gadgil, Programme Director of Parisar said, “Pune has a high number of two-wheelers which is only increasing each year. The number of road fatalities over the years is shocking. Other than sporadic awareness programmes, no consistent effort has been taken up by civic authorities to bring down these figures. We are left with no option but to take legal resource. Many precious lives could have been saved had the helmet rule been enforced earlier.”

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